|1636||To encourage service in the Pequot War, the Plymouth colony provides for the maintenance of disabled soldiers; the first veterans’ benefits in an English-speaking colony.|
|1776||The Continental Congress promises pensions to officers and soldiers disabled in the course of service; land grants ranging from 100 to 1,100 acres based on rank were considered part of the contract of enlistment.|
|1778||The Continental Congress promises half-pay for 7 years to officers who serve until the end of the war.|
|1780||The Continental Congress promises half-pay for life to officers and for 7 years to the widows and orphans of officers who die in service; this is the first national provision for widows and orphans.|
|1783||Washington addresses his officers at Newburgh, New York, counseling patience in pursuing demands for past pay and pensions; the Commutation Act is passed; the Society of Cincinnati, the nation’s first veterans’ organization, is founded.|
|1808||Control of military pensions transferred from the states to the federal government.|
|1818||Service Pension Law passed; means-based; disability not a requirement.|
|1828||Full pay for life is granted to surviving officers, noncommissioned officers, and soldiers who had served until the end of the war.|
|1862||General Law Pension System implemented; Arrears Act passed.|
|1865||National Home for Disabled Volunteer Soldiers established (not just a single facility—various branches were constructed nationwide); veterans’ preference for civil service legally established.|
|1866||The Grand Army of the Republic formed.|
|1879||The Arrears of Pension Act passed.|
|1885||Act of March 3, presumption of soundness at time of enlistment for all pension applicants, although soundness could be rebutted.|
|1890||Dependent Pension Act is passed.|
|1913||The Veterans of Foreign Wars is formed from the merger of smaller organizations of veterans of the Spanish–American War and the Philippine Insurrection.|
|1917||War Risk Insurance Act authorizes the issuance of life insurance policies to members of the armed services; a standard schedule for rating service-connected disabilities is created based on average impairment.|
|1918||A vocational rehabilitation program is established for veterans.|
|1919||American Legion founded in Paris by American Expeditionary Force members.|
|1920||Disabled American Veterans formed.|
|1921||The Veterans Bureau is established to consolidate veterans’ services into one agency.|
|1924||Pre-service occupation is considered in the determination of disability rating.|
|1930||Creation of the Veterans Administration.|
|1933||Repeal of the pre-service consideration in rating determination; valuation of ratings correlated with the consumer price index.|
|1936||Congress passes legislation (over President Roosevelt’s veto) providing for immediate payment of the World War I bonus.|
|1937||The category “totally disabled” is established for veterans with certain disabilities.|
|1938||Service members injured in the line of duty are guaranteed disability benefits in light of a potential draft.|
|1939||Rating schedule is revised.|
|1940s||President Roosevelt signs the Servicemen’s Readjustment Act of 1944, commonly known as the G.I. Bill of Rights (Public Law 346); it provides home loans, education assistance, and other readjustment services to veterans.
Rehabilitation efforts for brain injury also grew out of treatment of war injuries during World War II with the efforts of Dr. Howard Kessler, a strong advocate of rehabilitation of veterans, and Dr. Howard Rusk, an Air Force colonel who demonstrated the effectiveness of physical medicine with injured pilots.
Howard Rusk and Omar Bradley work to reorganize the Veterans Administration. Rusk and Frank Krusen work to develop the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) rehabilitation.
|1952||American Psychiatric Association publishes the first edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual for Mental Disorders (DSM-I); the volume includes an entry for the combat-related disorder “gross stress reaction.”|
|1956||Report of the President’s Commission on Veterans’ Benefits released.|
|1956||Social Security Disability Insurance is established to cover disability-related “involuntary retirement.”|
|1957||Veterans Benefits Act of 1957.|
|1958||All laws concerning veterans’ benefits updated.|
|1973||The United States institutes an all-volunteer armed forces; veteran’s benefits become an important incentive for recruitment.|
|1989||The cabinet-level VA is established.|
|1990–2000s||A period of cost reduction, accountability, managed care, and the closing or merging of many programs in traumatic brain injury (TBI) rehabilitation, as well as a period of growth of research and push to develop evidence-based practice guidelines for treatment and rehabilitation. The large number of injuries associated with the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan after 2001 has been a catalyst to expand efforts in research, prevention, assessment, and treatment in rehabilitation of persons with TBI in military and civilian settings.|
|2008||DSM-5 TBI and its neuropsychiatric sequelae are considered in detail. Criteria for diagnosing an injury event as TBI and attributing neurocognitive problems to it are offered.|
|2010||Veterans’ Benefits Act of 2010. Authorizes special monthly compensation for veterans with TBI who are in need of aid and attendance. Final rule effective June 7, 2018.|
|2016||December 21, 2016. Rule published in the Federal Register to add special monthly compensation for veterans with residuals of TBI.|
|2018||December 8, 2017, Rule published effective January 8, 2018, to amend VA’s adjudication regulation pertaining to extra-schedular consideration of a service-connected disability in exceptional compensation cases. This rule clarifies that an extra-schedular evaluation is to be applied to an individual service-connected disability when the disability is so exceptional or unusual that it makes application of the regular rating schedule impractical.|
Adler, J. 2013. Paying the price of war: United States soldiers, veterans, and health policy, 1917–1924, New York: Columbia University.
IOM (Institute of Medicine). 2007. PTSD compensation and military service. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press.
SpringBoard. 2015. The history of traumatic brain injury treatment. https://www.springerpub.com/w/nursing/blog-the-history-of-traumatic-brain-injury-treatment (accessed February 2, 2019).
VA (Department of Veterans Affairs). 2018. Title 38, part 3, adjudication, supplement 116. https://www.benefits.va.gov/WARMS/docs/regs/38cfr/bookb/B116.pdf (accessed February 2, 2019).